DMC Atlanta President Adam Dorfman

DMC Atlanta President Adam Dorfman

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/2001

Everyone's 9/11 experience is burned into their memory. I thought I'd share my unique perspective.

Ten years ago today I was stepping onto a plane at DC's National airport to fly home to Atlanta for Jane and Craig's wedding.  I was flying down early - Lara was flying down the next day.  We heard that "a plane hit the Pentagon," and everyone was visually pissed at the inconvenience that was going to be caused by, what we thought was, a private pilot's carelessness. We then started hearing that it was a commercial airliner. Having been in security for an hour, none of us had heard about New York. 

The entire airport was evacuated, and we all walked, confused, across the bridge to Pentagon City, scrambling for cabs. Sprint's towers on top of the WTC had been destroyed knocking out much of the Northeast's cell service- and all lines were busy on what towers were active. I finally got into the back of a cab driven by a crying, confused gentleman from Afghanistan. He was scared out of his mind- and I, being a disconnected 23 year old, had no idea why - I guess that, once he heard what happened, he knew in his heart the origin of the attacks - knew that everything that brought him from there to here was following him like back taxes in spite of the work it took for him to be here. I was nervous, and, trying to calm myself, I was talking incessantly about nothing. He just kept apologizing.

I made it home, got in touch with Lara - she came to the house and we stared blankly at the TV for a few hours before making the decision to get in my car and start the drive to Atlanta. The wedding was that weekend, and we had to make it home.  

On the way down, the highways were deserted.  Even the parts of I-95 that are normally littered with construction were desolate.  We stopped to eat and stretch our legs at an outlet mall in North Carolina, where all the stores were open but empty, the staff of every store piled into the BOSE store watching updates on the only TV's they could find. 

The entire experience was like watching a silent film without the music. You could see everything happening around you, but something was noticeably missing - one of your senses left vacant because you just don't have anything left to say.

We made it home for the wedding, as did the bride (who was stuck in Texas and had to rent a car to get home) and celebrated a joyous occasion with mixed emotions and a sense that things were about to become very different everywhere we looked.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sometimes Discipline and Happiness Go Hand in Hand

Parker on "PLACE"
Working with my dog, Parker, over the last few weeks has reminded me that, sometimes, the more important we feel, and the more pride we take in our work, the happier we are. As my daughter has become more mobile and capable, Parker has been acting out (namely, peeing all over the basement)-- frustrating the family. It took me a few weeks to realize that I was the problem, not him! 

I was so caught up in trying to balance my roles: husband, father, coach, business owner --  that I forgot to encourage my dog to do what he was DESIGNED to do -- WORK! Without constant challenge, he was getting bored and feeling useless -- leading to destructive behavior. Now that we are challenging his mind and teaching him new commands, he is feeling renewed, and the destructive behavior has stopped. 

No surprise -- it got me thinking about my work. It reminded me that, as a coach who cares about his players, it is important for their own well-being to hold the team to a high standard and to celebrate the victories along the way. Whether it is discipline in the work we do, the food we put into our bodies, staying on a workout routine, or getting things done right because it's the right thing to do, we are at our most serene, confident, happy, and fulfilled place when we go to bed tired at the end of the day knowing we did our best. 

Amazing job to the team at DMC for adapting to change and continuing to shine as we grow and take on new challenges. 

I'm posting a few pictures of Parker's progress for anyone who wants to take a look! 

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Parker Staying at "Sit" from 100 Yards

Parker Sitting While Being Attacked by a Bubble Monster


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lullabies



I suck at lullabies.  Not really something I'm ashamed of or upset about, just kind of a fact.

I have many other fine skills. Lullabies just don't happen to be one of them.

I'm fun, outgoing, personable, and, overall, a reasonably good dude.

HOWEVER -

Anyone who knows me and my personality knows that, by nature, I'm not exactly what one would call "low-key."  In other words - my effect on the people around me is less than soothing.

Even when I try to sing them to my one year old, the outcome is less than desirable.  She wants to get up and play. She climbs to her mom. She jumps up and down.  She does algebra.  You get the picture.  The one thing she absolutely does not want to do is, as Samuel L. Jackson or Adam Mansbach might say, Go the F to Sleep.

Deb Talan (www.theweepies.com) does not suck at lullabies.  In fact, whether she means to be or not, she is, in my opinion, the world champion of them.

I've been listening to Steve and Deb's music for well over a dozen years.  My wife and I have seen them all over the country - from Phoenix, to DC, to Atlanta.  We never miss a show. We already have tickets for their show in September in Atlanta.

When we started listening to them, we appreciated their music, lyrics, and general demeanor.  Their interaction and stories are fun and inspiring.  But our appreciation now has reached new levels.

On a recent drive to the beach from Atlanta, our daughter was having a hard time falling asleep.  We rubbed her tummy, read to her, and I (brilliantly) even tried singing her a lullaby.  No bueno.  She was pissed. Wanted out of that car seat.  Wanted to look out the window. Wanted to drive.

Then it hit us.  The fail-safe, perfect sleeping pill for our daughter.

Weepies time.

I put on the "Say I am You" album - she was out cold by then end of the first song.

I want to make it clear that the music isn't boring.  It's fun, witty, musically solid -- all around great stuff.  It just happens to put my kid to sleep.  Hallelujah.

Just a simple reminder that, if we focus on our strengths and know our limitations - if we know the strength of those around us and aren't afraid to use our resources, our lives can be better and easier.

Oh -- and a chance for me to throw out a plug for some of my favorite tunes.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Finding My True Voice



Thanks to my friend John’s decision to get married (or, rather, his fiancĂ©e’s acceptance), I had the opportunity to spend the past weekend with a group of 10 guys on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.  The trip was dubbed the “old guy bachelor party” and, at one point, “the lamest bachelor party of all time – in a really good way.” Most of us are married and, in terms of things one would regularly be excited to do at a bachelor party, have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and returned it because it just didn’t fit quite right. Rather than conversations about strippers and conquests, rather than tall tales about what we were going to do, we talked about our wives, kids, futures and even exchanged recipes for cocktails and guacamole.

Thanks to hours of semi-lucid conversations with friends – good friends – friends who want to see each other be better men – I made an extremely uncharacteristic decision that I am fairly certain made a real difference in my life.

I went surfing yesterday.

I am an obnoxiously aggressive competitor by nature, but I’m a terrible athlete, a moderately poor swimmer, and am easily embarrassed by doing things at which I’m fairly confident I will perform poorly.  When I say embarrassed I mean that I simply, for most of my life, I avoided the event altogether.

That being said – I went surfing yesterday. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.  In front of people who I respect and for whose friendship, admiration and respect I have a truly intense desire to earn. In ridiculously stupid terms – in my mind, they were the Zach Morris to my Screech.

I fell down, beat the living hell out of myself, swallowed a tanker full of salt water, and didn’t get up on a single wave.

By all definitions of surfing, I failed miserably. But for me it was a win. I tried – really hard – to do something that I knew I wasn’t good at, and it was amazing.  I didn’t seek approval of those around me. Instead I simply played my heart out.

I have known for years that my two biggest character flaws are that I am a consummate quitter and I am overly concerned with obtaining the approval of others.

The moment where I declared “I am not a quitter anymore” occurred in early 2003. I remember it like it was yesterday That’s for another post.

As for the “trying too hard” part of my personality, it’s been there forever. As Ray Lamontagne might say, I was old before my time – scared to have fun.  I am pre-programmed to be an overly serious worrier. If worry truly is, as my grandfather, Bob Krasnoff, says, “the misuse of imagination,” I must have one hell of an imagination. 

Growing up I was terrified of playing any game I wasn’t sure I could win. I would find justification for not playing and move on to another activity in a limited window.  I was smart, so I stayed inside and played video games, wrote, and listened to music. I was a heavy kid not because I didn’t want to play sports, but because I found ways to avoid the embarrassment I thought was inevitable playing outside with the other kids and losing. I complained to my mother that the “cool kids” didn’t like me because I was bad at sports and was heavy.  Truth be told, they didn’t like me because I made the conscious decision not to include myself in their fun. My shyness and fear of rejection manifested themselves as aloofness and arrogance. Looking back, I wouldn’t have cared much for me either.

As a professional musician, I wanted to be the musicians I admired.  I tried my best to sound like them – to sing like they would sing.  I became so competitive to play the right venues, to meet the right people, to gain approval of the crowd that I forgot to do the two most important things – PRACTICE to improve my craft and ENJOY what I was doing at the time instead of constantly thinking, even while I was mid-song, how I could play somewhere better, bigger, or more prestigious.  I was never satisfied with anything I did – spending so much time noticing the flaws of everything I did that I destroyed the joy and appreciation for my accomplishments. I went so far as to make sure no one ever played my recorded music when I was around, because I could only hear the flaws.  This part of my personality undoubtedly contributed to me quitting playing music professionally. Looking back, I was inches from the goal line. 

In business, I now realize that I have become unappreciative of my talents, my successes, and my accomplishments – simply because they were not as great as those of some others around me.  I doubted why anyone would want to work with men when they had the option to work with people who had already achieved the levels of success for which I was striving.  I spend my days teaching people to “get out of their comfort zone,” to be bold, but in reality my lack of boldness is my Achilles heel. 
Thankfully, the one thing I did not take for granted, are the relationships I have with my people – mostly thanks to my amazing wife and family teaching me that, without relationships, any eventual success is meaningless.

As a husband, I was hesitant to have children out of a fear that I would pass my neuroses along to them.  As a soon-to-be father I was scared of what would happen if my kids wanted to learn to play sports. As positively INSANE as it sounds I wondered would they lose respect for me because I was a poor athlete? Would they wish they were someone else’s kid?

I have known this about myself for years but been afraid to work on it. I didn’t know how. 

This is my “Screw it, let’s play” moment.

I’m writing this on a plane listening, start to finish, to everything I ever recorded as a musician from the time I was a teenager, and pieces of it are outstanding.

I went surfing yesterday.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DMC Atlanta & Songs for Kids Foundation

2011 marks our third year as a sponsor for Songs for Kids Foundation's annual "500 Songs for Kids" event, and it couldn't have gone better! We had over 40 people from our team show up for the event on Saturday, April 30th!

At DMC, we embrace the "Work Hard, Play Hard" philosophy and have a strong focus on giving back to the community.  "500 Songs" is always a major high point in our year.  As a former professional musician, it's a cause that is close to my heart.  Music really does have an incredible power to bring people together and to heal.  In addition to myself and my sister, Stef Dorfman, two of our other team members - Randall Crane and Jeremy Stegall also participated by performing at the event.

Please take some time to learn a little bit about Songs for Kids, a non profit that arranges for musicians to visit terminally ill children in hospitals throughout Atlanta. www.songsforkidsfoundation.org.


Jeremy's Band - "Operation Experimentation"
A Family Event - Lara Dorfman, Randi "Mom" Krasnoff, Stef Dorfman, Adam Dorfman


Adam Dorfman & David "HT" Rosen



Monday, April 18, 2011

Eggs, Baskets, and Becoming a Change Junkie



In the spirit of the season, we're moving some of our eggs to a new basket.

One of my mentors told me, repeatedly, that "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."  I guess she had to repeat it because my skull is 99% concrete, about 3 inches thick, and houses a tiny little brain that, by design, doesn't particularly care for change.

I'll start by saying that I'm extremely happy with what we've always gotten, but I want more. Lots more.

Well, for the last (almost) nine years, I have run a company that does B2B Marketing & Sales on an outsourced basis for large Office Supply and Telecommunications companies.  We've even managed to get pretty darn good at it - acquiring over 75000 new accounts and expanding to have offices all over the US.

Because of our track record, we've been approached over the years to take on new clients.  We have succeeded with some, failed with other, and straight up passed on a few that were just plain weird. (No, thank you, we don't want to sell XXX website memberships or adult "novelties" door to door residentially.)

We were approached with a new opportunity in November of last year that was a total change for us.  After years of outside sales, a major player in the Satellite TV industry approached us about taking on the challenge of selling and marketing their service to existing customers in big box retail establishments -- BIG, big box retail establishments -- literally the biggest in the world.

We decided to try it.  It was, as to be expected, uncomfortable.  We never pictured ourselves -- sharp, college-educated, motivated, professionals -- standing in these BIG BIG big box retail establishments talking to customers. We felt out of place, awkward, and just plain out of sorts. But, keeping my mentor's words in mind, we pressed on.

We started in November with three stores, moved up to 7 in January, and we just got word that we have the ability to expand to 25 stores JUST in Atlanta with potential to grow exponentially extremely quickly.  As it stands now, our new retail program has potential to be the most profitable we've ever pursued -- and to think,  we almost passed on it.

So, in the spirit of the season, I encourage to you think outside the box - push yourself to try something new - to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  You never know - it just might kick-start your success.

Adam the Easter Bunny - from a 2007 contest. It's like a giant pink nightmare.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting Started

So I’m going to begin my blog by stating that I never thought I’d have a blog. 

I’m not sure why, maybe it’s that the word itself –BLOG—sounds either like a euphemism for pooping or some kind of tree-dwelling slug. 

Or perhaps it is based on my initial notion that a blog is nothing more than an online diary, a place for the artsy-for-artsy’s-sake to express their distrust for the “establishment,” “corporations,” “the man,” or any other in a bevy of often-airquoted words that are misused by people who have an unfounded distaste or distrust for anyone who has achieved more than they have.

I was wrong.

In the last several months, I’ve learned more from BLOGS than from newspapers, online articles from reputable sources, and books combined.

The ability to update in real-time, to face today’s issues head-on, and to voice an opinion, realization, or brilliant idea as soon as it occurs is a true miracle of science.

Plus, I get to use my English degree.

So here we go – I will utilize this space to share stories and ideas in business as well as to lend a voice to my other passions – family, real music, outstanding food, great drink, and the relentless pursuit of fun. Let the games begin.

-Adam Dorfman-